B&Q owner sees pre-tax profits drop 8% warning of “uncertain” UK market

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Kingfisher update

B&Q’s parent company Kingfisher has revealed falling sales and profits in its fourth quarter results as it warned of a “more uncertain” UK market.

For the quarter to January 31 Kingfisher revealed a 5.1 per cent drop in like-for-like sales at B&Q, while sales growth at its stable-mate Screwfix dropped from 10.2 per cent in the previous quarter to 7.1 per cent.

Despite adverse conditions in the UK Kingfisher, which owns Castorama and Brico Depot in France and other parts of Europe, saw sales rise 3.8 per cent to £11.6 billion over the year.

The figures were a mixed bag however, with adjusted pre-tax profits for the group dropping 8.1 per cent to £683 million.

Early trading saw the retailer’s stock prices fall nearly eight per cent as traders red-flagged the softer trading during its final quarter.

A continued squeeze on consumer spending since the Brexit vote has put pressure on Kingfisher, as consumers avoid making big-ticket purchases. In November it revealed that UK sales at B&Q were lagging, dropping 0.5 per cent. This was largely offset by a 10.2 per cent jump in sales at Screwfix.

“We have made good progress in this second year of our ambitious five-year transformation after a significant step up in the level of activity,” chief executive Véronique Laury said.

“Our performance this year has been mixed, however, with solid growth at Screwfix and Poland, offset by continued weaker sales in France and some business disruption, principally reflecting product availability and clearance. We are acting on the causes of this disruption, however next year will be another big year in our transformation plan.

“The outlook for our main markets is also mixed. The UK is more uncertain, France is encouraging yet volatile, whilst the market in Poland remains supportive.”

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